Thursday, November 21, 2013

Alive in the Dead Sea

I made it to the lowest point on earth! The Dead Sea! For one final birthday adventure last week, I treated myself to a day of floating and relaxing. It was the best!!

The sun was out and the water was warm. I waded into the thick, salty water and as it got deeper and deeper, my feet just lifted off the bottom of the sea, unable to touch because of the crazy buoyancy. It's a challenge to stay vertical in the water and pretty soon it just cradled me as I floated effortlessly on the surface. It was wild! 

The extreme saltiness is a natural exfoliant for your skin, so it felt great. But you can go a step further and rub dark, smooth Dead Sea mud all over to leave your skin feeling even softer! Quite an experience!

As you can see, I opted to wear modest swimming attire by Western standards, but I felt rather immodest compared to the women in FULL coverings swimming next to me. Showing a little skin, something we consider so normal when swimming or hanging out at the beach, is unthinkable to other people. While the full covering seemed a bit cumbersome to me, I was also glad I wasn't one of the few conspicuous tourists in teeny bikinis.

I thought a lot about Bailey during this fun day. I chuckled out loud thinking about what she would do in the buoyant water. Although, all the flies in the area would have really bugged her. She would totally dig being covered in mud (in fact, when I told her about this detail she was indeed quite jealous). But the party would have been over if she got salt water in her eyes. Bailey's wise comment after I told her all about the Dead Sea, "Maybe you can't drink the water." Good thinking. :)

Funny story. So the beach I went to has a couple large pools with tables and chairs all around and stunning views of the Dead Sea, as well as the beach access. Anyway, as an ex-lifeguard, I can't go to a public pool without watching and cringing when people do unsafe things. It's a curse. But it was particularly difficult (and amusing) to see the lifeguard, without any kind of life saving device, smoking a cigarette next to the pool as children jumped on top of each other. A little later, he had his hookah pipe next to him too... a bit of a different world.

I did some reading on the Dead Sea before I went and did you know that the water level is decreasing at a rate of about 1 meter per year? Dams and canals on the Jordan River, which feeds the Dead Sea, have severely reduced the water flow. As you can imagine, water is a huge issue in this region. While it's important to use the Jordan River for drinking water and to irrigate crops, it comes at the cost of a shrinking Dead Sea. However, Jordan and Israel have gotten together to propose the Red Sea - Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project. Broadly speaking, this project intends to convey water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea for the purpose of maintaining and even re-filling the water levels in the Dead Sea. In addition, the project hopes to incorporate desalinization plants and generate hydropower to provide water and energy to the region. Pretty interesting! Here's a brief overview of the project from the World Bank if you're interested, check it out. This project is a huge endeavor and I look forward to following the progress in the coming years.

Here's a couple more photos before I sign off. Stayed tuned for an update about my trip down to Petra!

Really cool salt patterns on the shore of the Dead Sea.

We love the Dead Sea!


  1. Very cool Hannah! I love that you thought of Bailey and wrote about it. I feel the love that you have for your sister and it truly touches my heart. Blessings on your trip!!!

  2. Alive in the Dead Sea, amazing adventure.lying on the sea, enjoying the sunshine, want to try that,hehe.